5.5 million

UTC +8

Singapore is a modern, exciting city renowned for its high standard of living and sophisticated lifestyle. A hub for international business, the city is amid a cultural renaissance, attracting people from all over the world who want to make their mark on one of Asia’s most important cities.

Singapore’s rich history includes invasions by the Portuguese, British, and Japanese, and since becoming independent since 1965 the city-state has become a capitalism success story. The city consistently makes Top Ten lists for restaurants, culture, nightlife and lifestyle. The food in Singapore is among the most exciting in the world, and many renowned chefs have outposts in the city. An excellent public transport system, dramatic scenery, fascinating local culture, intriguing architecture, world-class shopping, and a vibrant expat scene makes this a perfect place to spend a few years or a few decades.

Known as the ‘hub of Asia, Singapore ranked the second most globalised economy in the world in 2015. This translates to high wages, a low unemployment rate and superb working conditions. The booming economy means Singapore needs expat specialists in a variety of roles, and the city is a hub for people from around the world. With this vibrant environment an incredibly focused work ethic. Expectations are high to deliver quality work as quickly as possible.

Office hours are Monday to Friday, 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm. Half days on Saturday, from 9am to 1pm, aren’t uncommon, but hours worked shouldn’t exceed 44 per week. Punctuality is important, as is showing respect to those who are older and in higher management positions. More than half of Singapore’s women are in the workforce, which adds to the diversity of most Singaporean companies.

While salaries are the most competitive in Asia, life in Singapore is becoming more expensive every year, and in 2014 it was ranked the fourth most expensive city in the world (ahead of London and New York). Imported goods are, of course, much higher here, though import taxes are low for items ordered from abroad. GST is set at 7%.

Useful sites:

With clean air, beautiful public spaces, and trees, Singapore seems a sort of utopian melting pot for people from around the world. Residents quickly grow used to the heat and humidity and easily find inviting green spaces to relax and cool off. Public transport is excellent and delicious food is everywhere, whether from exclusive restaurants or streetside stalls.

Singapore is very safe, with political stability despite a multi-racial society. Education options are abundant, but most are private and thus expensive. Bureaucracy is efficient and streamlined, with little time wasted.

The MRT is safe, fast, and clean, and means there’s really no need for car ownership. Cars are expensive and limited in where they can go, so it’s really best to stick to taxis and the MRT.

Singapore is an excellent starting point for exploring other parts of Asia. Daytrips and weekends in Malaysia are common escapes, and longer trips to the Philippines, Thailand, Bali, and Vietnam are easily reached by budget and international airlines.

Long-haul flight times from Singapore can be found here.

Further Reading

The lively expat scene means plenty of information is available about life in Singapore:

Working in Singapore
Living in Singapore
Singapore Expats
Expat Singapore
Enter Singapore

Collections of blogs by Singapore expats can be found here and here.

Rough Guide
Lonely Planet
Time Out
Links to English newspapers

See Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower for P1/P2 visa information.